You’ve always wanted to take a trip around the world. Or you have your heart set on retiring on a beach house in New England. You may consider these goals to be dreams that are far out of reach, but achieving big goals may actually be within your grasp. You have to be prepared to work hard and make sacrifices – but your efforts may pay off much sooner than you realize.
Spend Less, Save More
The principle behind saving money is simple – you must put more money aside than you spend. However, simple does not mean easy. In some instances, spending less means spending time searching for bargains on essential items. You may save significantly by buying a year’s worth of disposable contact lenses by post ordered online. For nonessential items that nonetheless represent activities that you greatly enjoy, the key is to make substitutions rather than sacrifices to avoid feeling deprived.
For instance, if you look forward to hanging out with your friends every week for Sunday brunch, try substituting a potluck brunch at your place for one Sunday per month rather than dropping out of the group altogether. If you love watching movies on the big screen, go to a matinee showing rather than completely depriving yourself. On the other hand, if you hate crowds and paying ridiculous prices for concessions, waiting a few months for movies to be released to video can translate into major savings.
Make Your Goal a Priority
It’s one thing to wistfully mention that you might like to accomplish a big goal; it’s quite another to declare that you intend to carry your goal out. Stating your intention makes the goal real and restating your goal makes it easier to resist missteps that can throw you off course. For instance, if you’re saving money to buy a new car, reminding yourself that you intend to buy a car makes it easier to resist spending money on impulse buys like a red pair of shoes just like the four other pairs of red shoes in your closet.
Keep a Visual Progress Log
It may seem corny, but seeing your progress on a chart or another visual tool can be a powerful motivating factor. Seeing the line climb upward or the bar grow taller helps you realize just how much progress you have made. A chart showing that you’re more than halfway toward meeting your savings goal can also offer encouragement during those inevitable periods when you are tempted to throw in the towel.
Find Like Minded Associates
One of the major principles of substance abuse counseling is that recovering substance abusers should not keep company with others who are still abusing. Especially in the early stages of recovery, the temptation to backslide can be nearly impossible to overcome. If you’re saving for a big goal, finding a group of savers who are putting money away for similar goals can bolster your will. You can talk about cutting out cable service to afford a once in a lifetime trip to others who are also planning a major journey without risk of being ridiculed for missing the latest episode of the hot new cable drama.
Richard Harrelson is a personal finance writer. He enjoys sharing his tips and insights on various blogs. Do you bulk buy items online to save time and money? Let us know about it in the comments.